Ethnic Jewels believes that old is gold but is modern enough to cater to the hip and happening. If you don't have a real antique, copies in gold can be crafted at a fraction of the cost
Be as modern as you will, but when it comes to Indian jewellery, nothing can beat the pride of owning a solid piece of traditional jewellery, and a family heirloom. Traditional designs, patterns crafted with inimitable workmanship that perhaps came out from your grandmother's almirah is what you will wear with attitude.And when antiques are way out of reach, antique copies in real gold are the happy alternative.Ethnic Jewels in Malleswaram is a treasure house of antique design gold jewellery from south India as well as Rajasthan.Traditional Lakshmi padakas or pendants, huge engraved pendants with images of Ganesha, Radha and Krishna under a tree, or the Kalinga Mardhana episode, the Gandaberunda symbol - all trimmed with tiny rubies or pearls are very eye-catching.You'll also find an abundance of floral patterns in pendants, earrings and necklaces. While some of the jewellery is really chunky, Ethnic Jewels also stocks a large collection of lighter designs and modern adaptations of traditional patterns. "Today's generation wants something trendy yet traditional that can go with salwar-kameez and western wear as well. So we always have new designs for them," says Ethnic Jewels' M. Harish Baradiya. The family has been in the business for over three generations now and while its mainstay is the wholesale business, a massive customer demand coaxed it into opening a retail store. It also specialises in making jewellery for idols in temples across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and even for the ISKCON temple here.The sense of the classic is evident in the tempting range of mangai maalai (mango neckpiece), addigai (choker), kaap, vanki (arm bands), thaiyath, gundu maalai, the poothali (a specialty of Kerala), jadey billey (hair ornament), tikada haar and sarpech (turban ornament worn by bridegrooms in North India), traditional Coorgi jewellery, navaratna sets - all in 916 Kdm gold. Speckled with Burmese rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and a range of over 84 gemstones, the jewellery is definitely very alluring. Jewellery lovers will be spoilt for choice faced with the array of uncut polki diamond sets, smaller individual earrings and pendants, beautiful bracelets and kadas. Hyderabadi patterns of polki with enamel work are also aplenty. From Rajasthan comes an elaborate range of exquisite meenakari or lacquer-work jewellery, teamed with semi-precious and precious stones.Ensuring that you get more bang for your buck, a lot of the jewellery here is reversible and can be worn with two different sets of clothing. "The older generations of jewellers believed in working on every inch of the jewellery they produced. So two-sided jewellery was popular. Today, when customers pay so much for antique jewellery, we believe in giving them value for money. So we make sets where one side maybe polki and the other side meenakari," says Harish. They even have reversible vankis!An ornate range of jhumkas or jhumkis - both in the temple jewellery style as well as the long and conical Rajasthani design embellished with pearls and designs of parrots - vie for space with the real thing: true-blue original antiques. Ethnic Jewels also takes orders to execute customised designs, copy old family jewellery, repair antique jewellery, besides buying antique jewellery from customers."One advantage of buying antique replicas is the drastic reduction in costs. An antique mango necklace may cost about Rs. 30 lakhs. Our replica comes at around Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh. Of course, the quality and workmanship is different; but when you buy an antique design you always stand to gain," says Harish, adding they take a month to execute customised orders. The store also keeps a record of customers and offers to buy back any of its jewellery at any time.Ethnic Jewels will host a special exhibition and sale of its entire range from June 13 to 19. Prices start at Rs. 5,000. The store is at No 110, 7th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleswaram Association Complex (opposite Nilgiri's Supermarket). Call 23563344. Website: www.ethnicjewels.comBHUMIKA K.